The patron saint of broke students, St Cupertino is celebrated every year when the Students tackle St Kilda. To that end, it is fitting that we begin our Round 14 preview with an ode to another Saint – Saint Nic (Brian) – patron saint of selection:
To Nic Brian and your selection crew,
Sides unchanged in the top two grades!
Through selection on Tuesday night you surely blew,
In Round 14, any nagging doubt hastily fades.
After a dominant outing against Frankston, Uni will be looking to repeat the dose against the Saints on Saturday.
Once again, nothing less than a win will do for the First XI on the weekend. A game outside the top eight, The Students will be desperate to bring their best cricket against St Kilda as they build towards an autumnal finals campaign. The last time St Kilda came to The Library, Uni caught them out in the Restricted Section, not a place any opposition team likes to be. Mark Stafford and Andrej Yaksender are particularly excited to play that Saints at home again, having taken 8fa and made a hundred respectively in the corresponding match last year.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Mark Stafford
It is that Stafford who you – and the Saints – ought to keep an eye on tomorrow. Not only last year’s performance, but also his recent form suggests he is a chance to break this one apart. Having lost his golfing buddy Bett through injury, Stafford has plenty of pent up energy that can only be released with an outswinger, or well-directed bumper… Yuckerz!
To the tune of “I’m on Fire” – Bruce Springsteen
“Oh Harry Trott, are your covers on?
Did they blow away and leave a wet patch on a length?
I’ve got a tin of keroseeeene,
Oh, oh, ohhh, I’m on fire”
Where last year the wicket at the Trott was set on fire, this time around Uni will be looking to catch alight as they play for a spot in the top four against the Saints. In a nice run of form, the Second XI also remain unchanged, after their incredible bonus point victory against the Heat. Lakeside runs are good runs (just check Strava), that being the case, look for the engine room to get in and go big this weekend.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jeremy Peacock
Something of a Mr Reliable for the Second XI, Jezza has played a vital role for the Second XI in the all-rounder slot this season. Wickets and runs notwithstanding, he also provides Red Bull and a penchant for quality Finding Nemo based gags to keep his teammates entertained. Remember, fish are friends, not food.
Nick Ritchie continues to perform his best interpretation of ‘Slim Shady’ – in that he is indeed back, back again! The talented top order batsman re-joins the Third XI after a string of injury setbacks, but we are thrilled to see him back out there. Lachie Pedley also returns after an extended stay at Mooseheads. He joins a team who will be keen to build on the momentum of last week’s victory, as they push for a place in the finals. Currently three points behind eighth placed St Kilda, it shapes as a vital contest for Uni at Princes Park.
PPLAYER TO WATCH: Rithin Rakes
Rithin Rakes, bowls leg breaks. He also does this in a headband. Turning the ball big, Rith also possesses a dangerous wrong’un. Should the Saints play for the stock ball, they might find themselves wanting against our crafty young spinner.
Under the esteemed leadership of Ed Savill, MUCC’s Fourth XI will be under the best possible care as they tackle the Saints at Ian Johnson Oval. Needing everything to go right for them in the last four matches of the season to be a hope of playing finals cricket, the Fourth XI have pulled out the big guns, with Lim, Stone and Talati all back in the side.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Gall and Stone
Not far from the Alfred Hospital, which is lucky, because St Kilda’s Fourth XI could be in for a bad case of gall stones. With Pebbles and Alex Gall suring up the batting order, the pair are both after a big score, and could make it a painful day for the Saints…